FAQ – VGM 1st July 2016

What is Solas?

SOLAS stands for “International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea”. Although it has already been in existence since 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster in 1912, there have been several versions since that time, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) develops and maintains the current SOLAS.

What is VGM?

VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass and refers to the total weight of the cargo (cargo weight, loading material/pallets/skids, dunnage, securing material, tare weight of the container).

What are the basic requirements of VGM?

The Shipper has to provide to the forwarder the Verified Gross Mass (Weight) of the Container, including cargo weight, weight of all loading equipment and materials, dunnage and the tare weight of the container) along with a Signature identifying the person responsible for the declared weight. This information has to be provided to the CARRIER before the container reaches the CARRIER’s port terminal.

The required data elements that shippers must provide to the forwarder are:

  1. Verified Gross Mass (VGM) per container (including cargo weight, loading material/pallets/skids, dunnage, securing material, tare weight of container)
  2. Signature of the authorized person declaring the weight and company details.
  3. Additional information and/or documents, if required by relevant state (government) authorities.

Who is Responsible for declaring and providing the VGM?

Under the SOLAS requirements, the SHIPPER named on the ocean bill of lading is the party responsible for providing the maritime (ocean) carrier and the terminal operator the verified gross mass of a packed container. A forwarder will be responsible for reporting this on a clients behalf from the declaration received from the shipper.

How Can I weigh a container?

Once the container is packed a shipper may weigh or arrange a third party to weigh the packed container (at a cost).


The shipper may weigh all packages and cargo items, including the mass of the pallets, dunnage and other packaging, and add the tare mass of the container to the total.

Where can I obtain the tare weight of a container?

The container’s tare weight is shown on the door of the container.

What is the deadline to submit the VGM to the forwarder?

Cut off time will vary from port to port please check with your forwarder at time of shipping.

What are the consequences if the VGM is not reported in time?

The carrier and the terminal operator may not load the container on board the vessel.






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